In Iowa we have the responsibility to thoroughly vet presidential candidates who come through our states. Candidates will usually do one of six things while they are stumping around the state.
- Highlight their positions that will resonate with Iowa conservatives while downplaying their record or positions that won’t.
- Pander and try to tickle Iowa voters’ ears.
- Spin positions that don’t connect with Iowa’s conservatives.
- Give ambiguous answers to what is seen as an uncomfortable question.
- Be brutally honest whether Iowa voters will like it or not.
- Avoid Iowans altogether.
Those who fall in category #5 are rare. One way to tell if a candidate is going to fall into category #5 rather than say category #2 is what they say in other states. It’s one of the reasons I like to track blogs in New Hampshire like Granite Grok for instance. I also pay attention to additional news sources in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. I also pay attention to what is being reported on a candidate in their home state.
Enter New Jersey Governor Chris Christie… the “straight talking” Governor told Iowans on February 10 that he had “grave concerns” about Common Core. I transcribed his entire remarks in my article at The Pulse 2016 where I called on Christie to “walk his talk.”
I have grave concerns about the way this has been done, especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things. And that changes the entire nature of it, from what was initially supposed to be voluntary type system and states could decide on their own to now having federal money tied to it in ways that really, really give me grave concerns. So we’re in the midst of re-examination of it in New Jersey. I appointed a commission a few months ago to look at it in in light of these new developments from the Obama administration and they’re going to come back to me with a report in the next, I think, six or eight weeks, then we’re going to take some action. It is something I’m very concerned about, because in the end education needs to be a local issue.
This is radically different than what he said in August of 2013.
We are doing Common Core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I have agreed more with the President than not. And with Secretary Duncan. I think part of the Republican opposition you see in some corners in Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction that is happening in Washington right now, that if the president likes something the Republicans in Congress don’t. If the Republicans in Congress like something, the president doesn’t.
Then he said at CPAC he had implementation concerns when Larua Ingraham pressed him on the issue:
“Regrets, do you have regrets?” Ingraham asked.
“Sure of course,” Christie replied.
“Political regrets?” Ingraham asked.
“Implementation regrets. Unlike other people who just get to talk about this stuff we actually have to do it. Once we start to do it, what I’ve seen, with the concern that I’ve had since the beginning we set a commission up that is now coming back with some recommendations, but my charge to them is that we have to keep government at the local level. With education it is most important it has to have parents involved, there have to be teachers involved as a part of this process and it needs to be part of this process and will be I think as we move forward in New Jersey,” Christie added.
With PARCC Christie could have taken some positive action as parents, teachers, and state legislators have expressed concern over the Common Core-aligned assessment that the state implemented last week. Because if you have “implementation regrets” and “grave concerns” you’d think you’d support something as basic as a parent’s decision to opt-out right?
Oh I forgot we are back in New Jersey where apparently Christie doesn’t think we are watching. No he defends PARCC prior to students taking the test. He said at a town hall meeting in Fair Lawn, NJ he doesn’t want to “kill PARCC before (New Jersey) takes PARCC.” Also he encourages parents to not opt their children out of the test so it could act as a barometer of whether parents were “getting their money’s worth” from public schools. Christie also said, “When the results come back, I may have grave concerns about PARCC… I’m not yet concerned, but I am aware. Let’s wait for the statistics to come in.”
You watch his full remarks on PARCC here or below.
Although I would have disagreed, I would have respected him giving this answer in Iowa. If his grave concerns do not lie with PARCC and how the assessment will be used in his state. Where do his “grave concerns” and “implementation concerns” lie?
Couple this with his education “czar” telling state legislators to “leave PARCC alone” and his state department of education’s being complicit with PARCC testing vendor Pearson’s monitoring of student social media during the testing period you have to conclude he was blowing a bunch of hot air in Iowa.
Consistency and action Governor, that’s what we are looking for.